Washington, DC Area Dog Parks
When I first became a dog person, it was hard to find a place where my puppy could run off leash - other than my own back yard. While there were some popular running places in Rock Creek Park, there were a group of buzz kill guys we referred to as "Officer Friendly" who would sneak up and write tickets if they caught someone whose dog was off leash.
But today, most DC neighborhoods have some sort of fenced in areas where dogs can run around with abandon. Still, if you take advantage of them, you need to be able to control your dog - when I say "Willie! Come!" he really needs to obey. And, of course, you need a scoop bag to clean up any little messes. Also, if your dog has issues about playing well with others, a dog park probably isn't a great place to take him.
If you're looking for a neighorhood off-leash dog park, here are a few of them:
- Dupont Circle: at 17th & S Streets you'll find a pretty big, totally fenced dog park with a sort of astro-turf anti-bacterial covering, which is designed to keep the dogs from digging and to make it easy to scoop the poop. Willie likes this one because it's really big enough for serious running around.
- Cleveland Park's Rosedale Conservancy: this is an exclusive "Members Only" park on Newark Street just west of Reno Road. And there are only certain times of day when pets are allowed off leash. To join, you need to make a contribution to the Conservancy (it's tax deductable) and register your dog.
- Capitol Hill's Lincoln Park: I once spotted a t-shirt here saying "Capitol Hill is a great neigborhood because there are more dogs than lawyers!" The dog play area is unfenced, so you need a dog who isn't prone to bolting into traffic. Sorry, Willie. This one isn't for you!
- Langdon Dog Park: this one is near 20th and Franklin Streets NE, in Woodridge. It's stil pretty new, with a generous running around area and even water fountains. And if you have a little guy, there is a special area set aside for small dogs.
- Georgetown: In Montrose Park at R and 32nd Streets NW, dogs may play off leash. But there are strick codes of conduct, and probably dress codes, too. I haven't taken Willie here because he might hump some little poodle and freak out the owner (even though he's been fixed). Maybe the next time he's fresh from the groomer's.
- 16th Street Heights: The Upshur Street Recreation Center (near 14th & Upshur Streets NW) includes a dog run. But when I checked it out, a lot of the dogs were large, scary watch dog types, and I decided to pass. If you have a large breed who can hold his own, the other dog owners are less likely to freak out here than they might in, say, Montrose Park or the Rosedale Conservancy.
For a complete list of area dog parks, check out "Bring Fido".
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